Chromebook Mysterious Reboot

Publish date: Jul 6, 2016

A few months ago I noticed a weird issue on the Chromebook where it would reboot hard if I performed a dd operation to write a Linux distro out to USB. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Browsing around the crouton source code for an unrelated project, I came across this section of code that explains the issue. The Chromebook OS has the hunk_task_panic timer set for 2 minutes. The dd operation generally will go over 2 minutes for almost all distros, so the system reboots. So if one is doing some work that involves long IO operations, the following command in the code below should disable the kernel panic if a hung task is detected.

From Crouton Installer:

# Large writes to slow devices (e.g. SD card or USB stick) can cause a task to
# be stuck for longer than 120 seconds, which triggers a kernel panic (and an
# immediate reboot). Instead of disabling the timeout altogether, we just make
# sure the kernel does not panic (this is the default configuration of a vanilla
# kernel). See for details.
disablehungtask() {
    echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/hung_task_panic
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